Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Laura Carruth

Second Advisor

Walt Wilczynski

Third Advisor

Amy Horner-Reber


The purpose of this study is to explore the use of stress physiology biomarkers in wildlife rehabilitation. We examined collection, extraction and enzyme immunoassay protocols in order to identify the optimal methods for testing corticosterone levels in injured raptors at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Corticosterone levels were measured periodically during the raptors' rehabilitation using noninvasive techniques. This study focuses on three species: Red-Tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Red-Shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus), and Barred Owls (Strix varia). Fecal samples were collected from patients from all three species from May 2017 to March 2018. This information will contribute to our understanding of the stress profile of raptors in rehabilitation, and will allow for future studies to employ the methods validated by this project.